Category Archives: Judaism

Books posted on JewishBookWorld.org in April 2016

Cover for A Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism Reader by Daniel M. HorwitzHere is the list of the 58 books that I posted on JewishBookWorld.org  during the month of April 2016:

  1. 1915 Diary of S. A. An-sky: A Russian Jewish Writer at the Eastern Front by S. A. An-sky
  2. ABC Passover Hunt by Tilda Balsley
  3. Antisemitism in North America; New World, Old Hate by Steven K. Baum, Neil J. Kressel, Florette Cohen, and Steven Leonard Jacobs
  4. The Art of Passover by Rabbi Stephan O. Parnes
  5. As If We Were There: Readings for a Transformative Passover Experience by Gidon Rothstein
  6. Barbra Streisand: Redefining Beauty, Femininity, and Power by Neal Gabler
  7. The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem by Sarit Yishai-Levi
  8. Because of Eva: A Jewish Genealogical Journey by Susan J. Gordon
  9. Contention, Controversy, and Change: Evolutions and Revolutions in the Jewish Experience, Volume I by Eric Levine and Simcha Fishbane
  10. The Curious Case of Kiryas Joel: The Rise of a Village Theocracy and the Battle to Defend the Separation of Church and State by Louis Grumet, John M. Caher
  11. The Daughter Who Got Away by Leora Freedman
  12. The Dead Sea and the Jordan River by Barbara Kreiger
  13. The Dinner Party by Brenda Janowitz
  14. The Dry Bones Passover Haggadah by Yaakov Kirschen
  15. The Exodus Story in Minecraft by Roque Rojas
  16. The Exodus You Almost Passed Over by Rabbi David Fohrman
  17. Faith Without Fear: Unresolved Issues in Modern Orthodoxy by Michael J. Harris
  18. Fifty Shades of Talmud: What the First Rabbis Had to Say About You-Know-What by Maggie Anton
  19. From Day to Day: One Man’s Diary of Survival in Nazi Concentration Camps by Odd Nansen and Timothy J. Boyce
  20. Hasidism as Mysticism: Quietistic Elements in Eighteenth-Century Hasidic Thought by Rivka Schatz Uffenheimer
  21. Honorable Mentschen: A Torah-Based Guide to Derech Eretz and Social Skills by Genendel Krohn
  22. The Houseguest by Kim Brooks
  23. The Image of Jews in Contemporary China by James R. Ross and Song Lihong
  24. Israel Eats by Steven Rothfeld
  25. Israel Isidor Mattuck, Architect of Liberal Judaism by Pam Fox and Michael A. Meyer
  26. Jack and Rochelle: A Holocaust Story of Love and Resistance by Jack Sutin, Rochelle Sutin
  27. A Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism Reader by Daniel M. Horwitz
  28. A Kabbalistic View of History by Z’Ev Ben Shimon Halevi
  29. Kayla and Kugel’s Almost-Perfect Passover by Ann D. Koffsky
  30. Knowing God’s Plan (Daas Tevunos): The Precise System Through Which G-d Directs Every Aspect of Existence by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto
  31. Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food by Roger Horowitz
  32. Listen and Learn from the Animals by Aviva Hermelin
  33. The Lost Book of Moses: The Hunt for the World’s Oldest Bible by Chanan Tigay
  34. Memoirs of a Jewish Vampire: 6,000 Years of Kvetching by Russell Andresen
  35. Modern Girls by Jennifer S. Brown
  36. Modern Orthodoxy in American Judaism: The Era of Rabbi Leo Jung by Maxine Jacobson
  37. More Than Enough: A Passover Story by April Halprin Wayland
  38. Mother, Can You Not? by Kate Siegel
  39. The New Mediterranean Jewish Table: Old World Recipes for the Modern Home by Joyce Goldstein
  40. New Moon by G. Rayzel Raphael
  41. New York’s Yiddish Theater From the Bowery to Broadway by Edna Nahshon
  42. On One Foot by Linda Glaser
  43. Ora de Despertar: Original Ladino Songs For Children by Sarah Aroeste
  44. Passover Guide 2016 by Kashrus Magazine
  45. Passover Haggada with commentary by Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz
  46. Passover Haggadah The Original Tradition of the Jews of Yemen by Chaim Ben-Tsur
  47. Passover Haggadah: A Celebration of Freedom by Nin Sharyn Bebeau
  48. The Passover Surprise by Janet Ruth Heller
  49. Passover Word Search: A Pesach Puzzle, Poem & Coloring Book in One by Puzzle Color
  50. Passover: Festival of Freedom by Monique Polak
  51. A Place for Elijah by Kelly Easton Ruben
  52. Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra’s Commentary on Books 3-5 of Psalms: Chapters 73-150 by H. Norman Strickman
  53. Rhapsody in Schmaltz: Yiddish Food and Why We Can’t Stop Eating It by Michael Wex
  54. The Sefiros and the Self – A Divine Blueprint for Self-Discovery and Personal Growth by Rabbi Yaakov Feder
  55. Shrink: The Autobiography of a Psychotherapist by Martin Obler, Jed Golden
  56. Six Memos from the Last Millennium: A Novelist Reads the Talmud by Joseph Skibell
  57. Take It Easy! Delicious & Simple Gluten-Free Recipes for Passover & Year Round by Mindy Rafalowitz
  58. Uncle Yossi’s Big Book of Stories (Vol 1): Classic Jewish Tales as told by Yosef Goldstein

Books added to JewishFilmFestivals.org in March 2016

I added a new section to the JewishFilmFestivals.org site recently, listing books related to its topic: Jews and Film/TV. The books are divided into four categories: Academic/scholarly, Holocaust/Shoah, Israel, and Related. The description of these categories and the list of ALL books are on the books page. The list of books for each category can be reached via the menu on top. To begin with I included the 48 books listed below. Please let me know if I missed something.

  1. Acting Jewish: Negotiating Ethnicity on the American Stage and Screen (2012) by Henry BialBuy
  2. Afterimage: Film, Trauma, and the Holocaust (1996) by Joshua HirschBuy
  3. American Jewish Filmmakers (2005) by David Desser, Lester D. FriedmanBuy
  4. American Jewish Films: The Search for Identity (2003) by Lawrence J. Epstein Buy
  5. The American Jewish Story through Cinema, The (2011) by Eric A. Goldman Buy
  6. Between Two Worlds: Jewish Presences in German and Austrian Film, 1910-1933 (2013) by S. S. PrawerBuy
  7. Beyond Flesh: Queer Masculinities and Nationalism in Israeli Cinema (2011) by Raz YosefBuy
  8. Blackface, White Noise: Jewish Immigrants in the Hollywood Melting Pot (2015) by Michæl RoginBuy
  9. Driven to Darkness: Jewish Emigre Directors and the Rise of Film Noir (2005) by Vincent Brook Buy
  10. Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood, An (2003) by Neal GablerBuy
  11. Entertaining America: Jews, Movies, and Broadcasting (2007) by J. Hoberman, Jeffrey Shandler Buy
  12. The Fantastic in Holocaust Literature and Film: Critical Perspectives, The (2016) by Judith B. Kerman, John Edgar BrowningBuy
  13. Film and the Holocaust: New Perspectives on Dramas, Documentaries, and Experimental Films (1984) by Aaron KernerBuy
  14. First Films of the Holocaust: Soviet Cinema and the Genocide of the Jews, 1938–1946 (2005) by Jeremy HicksBuy
  15. From Nuremberg to Hollywood: The Holocaust and the Courtroom in American Fictive Film(2007) by James JordanBuy
  16. Haunted Images: Film, Ethics, Testimony and the Holocaust (2005) by Libby SaxtonBuy
  17. Hollywood and the Holocaust (2013) by Henry GonshakBuy
  18. Hollywood’s Chosen People: The Jewish Experience in American Cinema (2003) by Murray Pomerance, Daniel Bernardi, Hava Tirosh-Samuelson Buy
  19. The Holocaust and the Moving Image: Representations in Film and Television Since 1933, The (2002) by Toby Haggith, Joanna NewmanBuy
  20. Holocaust Cinema in the Twenty-First Century: Images, Memory, and the Ethics of Representation (2000) by Gerd Bayer, Oleksandr KobrynskyyBuy
  21. The Holocaust Film Sourcebook, The (2013) by Caroline PicartBuy
  22. Holocaust Film: The Political Aesthetics of Ideology (2002) by Terri GinsbergBuy
  23. Holocaust Impiety in Literature, Popular Music and Film (2015) by Matthew BoswellBuy
  24. Holocaust in American Film, Second Edition (2004) by Judith DonesonBuy
  25. Identity Politics on the Israeli Screen (2007) by Yosefa LoshitzkyBuy
  26. Identity, Place, and Subversion in Contemporary Mizrahi Cinema in Israel (2014) by Yaron ShemerBuy
  27. Indelible Shadows: Film and the Holocaust (1987) by Annette InsdorfBuy
  28. Israeli Cinema (2003) by Miri Talmon, Yaron PelegBuy
  29. Israeli Film: A Reference Guide (2015) by Amy Kronish, Costel SafirmanBuy
  30. The Jew in American Cinema, The (2003) by Patricia ErensBuy
  31. The Jew in Cinema: From The Golem to Don’t Touch My Holocaust, The (2013) by Omer BartovBuy
  32. The Jewish Image in American Film, The (2004) by Lester D. FriedmanBuy
  33. Jewish Women on Stage, Film, and Television (2012) by R. MockBuy
  34. The Jews of Prime Time, The (2013) by David Zurawik Buy
  35. Kosher Movies: A Film Critic Discovers Life Lessons at the Cinema (2011) by Herbert J. CohenBuy
  36. Mediamorphosis: Kafka and the Moving Image (1995) by Shai Biderman, Ido LewitBuy
  37. The Modern Jewish Experience in World Cinema, the (2012) by Lawrence BaronBuy
  38. The New Jew in Film: Exploring Jewishness and Judaism in Contemporary Cinema, The (2016) by Nathan AbramsBuy
  39. Nostalgia in Jewish-American Theatre and Film, 1979-2004 (2003) by Ben FurnishBuy
  40. Over the Top Judaism: Precedents and Trends in the Depiction of Jewish Beliefs and Observances in Film and Television (1988) by Elliot B. Gertel Buy
  41. Projecting The Holocaust Into The Present: The Changing Focus of Contemporary Holocaust Cinema (2007) by Lawrence BaronBuy
  42. Reel Jewish (2003) by Joel SambergBuy
  43. Representing Perpetrators in Holocaust Literature and Film (2013) by Jenni Adams, Sue ViceBuy
  44. Shoah: The Complete Text Of The Acclaimed Holocaust Film (2009) by Claude LanzmannBuy
  45. Something Ain’t Kosher Here: The Rise of the ‘Jewish’ Sitcom (2011) by Vincent BrookBuy
  46. The Construction of European Holocaust Memory: German and Polish Cinema after 1989(2002) by Malgorzata Pakier Buy
  47. Weimar Film and Modern Jewish Identity (2005) by Ofer AshkenaziBuy
  48. Woody on Rye: Jewishness in the Films and Plays of Woody Allen (2012) by Vincent Brook, Marat GrinbergBuy

Films added in March 2016 to JewishFilmFestivals.org

In the month of March I added 71films to Jewish Film Festivals. Some of them are old, others are new. There are shorts, feature films, documentaries and TV series among them. In the list below I used the English title for all them, but many of them are from other countries. The only thing common in them is that they were all shown at one more Jewish Film Festival. I hope you will find some interesting one films here:

  1. Aaron’s Magic Village / The Real Shlemiel / Die Schelme von Schelm (1995, 87 min) Buy/Watch
  2. Against Your Will (2015, 51 min)
  3. Bark Mitzvah (2015, 8 min)
  4. Belzec (2005, 100 min) Buy/Watch
  5. Birthplace / Miejsce urodzenia (1992, 47 min)
  6. Bulmus: Caught in the Net (2016, 9 min)
  7. Chaja & Mimi (2009, 10 min)
  8. Claire Bloom: British Legend of Stage and Screen (2012, 60 min) Buy/Watch
  9. Coaching Colburn (2016, 27 min)
  10. Complicit (2013, 66 min)
  11. Elie and us / Elie et nous (2010, 69 min)
  12. Endless Abilities (2013, 76 min)
  13. The Eulogy of Pini Gurevich (2015, 20 min)
  14. Eva, Ruda, Léo and me / Eva, Ruda, Léo et moi (2015, 53 min)
  15. Everything Is Copy (2015, 89 min)
  16. Family Commitments / Familie verpflichtet (2015, 85 min)
  17. The Fearless Vampire Killers, or Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are in My Neck (1967, 91 min) Buy/Watch
  18. Finding Miracles (2015, 9 min)
  19. Finishers / De toutes nos forces (2013, 86 min) Buy/Watch
  20. Francofonia (2015, 88 min)
  21. Frog Hunt / Tseid Tsfardeim (2012, 15 min)
  22. From Hollywood to Nuremberg: John Ford, Samuel Fuller, George Stevens (2012, 53 min) Buy/Watch
  23. General Rehearsal (2013, 12 min)
  24. Giza, the Suitcase Child / Giza, La Nina de la Maleta (2014, 46 min)
  25. God Told Me To (1976, 91 min) Buy/Watch
  26. Goldberg & Eisenberg: Til Death Do Us Part (2013, 90 min) Buy/Watch
  27. Guard Hut / Budke (2012, 17 min)
  28. H I Jew Positive (2013, 80 min)
  29. Hanka’s Tattoo (2015, 15 min)
  30. Happy New Year / Bonne Annee (2013, 10 min)
  31. Harbour of Hope / Hoppets hamn (2011, 76 min) Buy/Watch
  32. Hear This! / Moet je horen! (2013, 15 min)
  33. Herb & Dorothy 50X50 (2013, 87 min)
  34. Hint / Remez (2012, 16 min)
  35. I Remember Barbra (1981, 23 min)
  36. If that is so, then I’m a murderer / …dann bin ich ja ein Mörder! (2012, 70 min)
  37. Internal Combustion (2014, 86 min)
  38. The Interviewer (2012, 12 min)
  39. Ishtar (1987, 107 min) Buy/Watch
  40. It’s Purim Today (2015, 13 min)
  41. Jerusalemites Can’t Swim (2013, 50 min)
  42. Jewish Blind Date (2015, 16 min)
  43. Jews of Harbin (2014, 53 min)
  44. Junction 48 (2016, 95 min)
  45. Junun (2015, 54 min) Buy/Watch
  46. Lejaim A Eliahu Toker: An Illuminated Life / Lejaim A Eliahu Toker: Una Vida Iluminando (2013, 48 min)
  47. The Length of the Alphabet / La longueur de l’alphabet (2013, 52 min)
  48. Like Children (2012, 9 min)
  49. Making Morning Star (2015, 40 min)
  50. Marvin Seth and Stanley (2012, 75 min) Buy/Watch
  51. Mikey and Nicky (1976, 119 min) Buy/Watch
  52. Mushkie (2016, 12 min)
  53. Nana, George and Me (1998, 48 min)
  54. Never a Bystander (2014, 30 min)
  55. A New Leaf (1971, 102 min) Buy/Watch
  56. A New Life on the Land (2014, 55 min)
  57. Nightswimming / S’chiya Leylit (2013, 24 min)
  58. Norman Lear: Just Another Version Of You (2016, 91 min)
  59. One Day in Auschwitz (2015, 45 min)
  60. TheOther Dignity / La Otra Dignidad (2013, 50 min)
  61. Presenting Princess Shaw (2015, 80 min)
  62. Purim: The Lot (2014, 65 min) Buy/Watch
  63. Robbery of the Heart (2015, 80 min)
  64. Shores of Light: Salento 1945-1947 (2015, 56 min)
  65. Sleeping With the Fishes (2013, 95 min) Buy/Watch
  66. Slower Than A Heartbeat / Yoter Ity Mi’Lev (2012, 90 min)
  67. Ten Buildings Away / Asara Rehovot Mea Etsim (2015, 25 min)
  68. Tipsy Torah: Purim (2015, 8 min)
  69. TheUpside Down Book (2013, 52 min)
  70. Wounded Land (2015, 80 min)
  71. You Are Me (2013, 13 min)

Books posted on my Jewish Books blog in March 2016

"How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?" by Tahneer OksmanHere is the list of books that made it here during the month of March 2016:

Films added in February 2016 to JewishFilmFestivals.org

Poster for Karski & The Lords of Humanity / Karski i wladcy ludzkosciIn the month of February I added 85  films to Jewish Film Festivals. Some of them are old, others are new. There are shorts, feature films, documentaries and TV series among them. In the list below I used the English title for all them, but many of them are from other countries. The only thing common in them is that they were all shown at one more Jewish Film Festival. I hope you will find some interesting one films here:

  1. 18 Voices Sing Kol Nidre (2012, 40 min)
  2. The 81st Blow / Ha-Makah Hashmonim V’Echad (1975, 115 min)
  3. A Prayer for Aliyah (2012, 27 min)
  4. The A Word (2010, 105 min)
  5. Absent God (2014, 68 min)
  6. The Amazing Charleroux (2011, 10 min)
  7. Ash and Hopes – My Struggle to Survive / Cenizas y esperanzas – Mi lucha por sobrevivir (2014, 28 min)
  8. Beqassor (1950, 120 min)
  9. Bike for the Fight (2013, 25 min)
  10. Bogdan’s Journey (2016, 90 min)
  11. The Building Across (2012, 5 min)
  12. Café Nagler (2015, 59 min)
  13. The Cake (2013, 5 min)
  14. Chantal Akerman, From Here / Chantal Akerman, de cá (2010, 61 min)
  15. The Details (2013, 5 min)
  16. The Diary of Anne Frank / Das Tagebuch der Anne Frank (2016, 128 min)
  17. The Dreamers (2011, 57 min)
  18. The Escape (2013, 74 min)
  19. Evan Kaufmann: Fathers’ Land (2012, 10 min)
  20. Everything Is Copy (2015, 89 min)
  21. Filme sobre um Bom Fim / Film about a Good End (2015, 88 min)
  22. Flames in the Ashes / Pnei Hamered (1987, 96 min)
  23. For Sabbath (2015, 11 min)
  24. Frog and Toad Together (2016, 30 min)
  25. Front of the Class (2008, 95 min) Buy/Watch
  26. The Gambling Man (2012, 24 min)
  27. Gedenk – A new generation remembers / Guedenk – Una nueva generación recuerda (2015, 55 min)
  28. Gerda’s Silence / Gerdas Schweigen (2008, 95 min) Buy/Watch
  29. God’s Messengers (2015, 76 min)
  30. Gold Will Set You Free / Oro Macht Frei (2013, 70 min)
  31. Greenhorn (2015, 25 min)
  32. Hands of Flame (2014, 9 min)
  33. Historia Kowalskich (2009, 70 min)
  34. Hotel Lux (2011, 102 min) Buy/Watch
  35. I Want to be a Boarder (1937, 15 min)
  36. Incognito (2015, 11 min)
  37. Jerusalem of Steel (2005, 5 min)
  38. The Jester / Der Purimspiler (1937, 90 min)
  39. Karski & The Lords of Humanity / Karski i wladcy ludzkosci (2015, 72 min)
  40. Ladies’ Tailor / Damiskiy Portnoy (1990, 92 min)
  41. The Last Sea / Ha-Yam Ha’Aharon (1984, 100 min)
  42. León, Reflections of a Passion / León, reflejos de una pasión (2015, 70 min)
  43. Less Than One (2014, 6 min)
  44. Lev Haaretz / Ramleh (2001, 58 min)
  45. Line 41 / Linie 41 (2015, 101 min)
  46. Mama Doni’s Jewish Holiday Party (2013, 70 min) Buy/Watch
  47. Menazka (The Pot) (2015, 49 min)
  48. The Monaco Watch / L’orologio di Monaco (2014, 63 min)
  49. Monumento (2016, 80 min)
  50. My Angel / Mon Ange (2014, 22 min)
  51. My Emo Life (2015, 48 min)
  52. Neil Diamond: Solitary Man (2010, 60 min)
  53. A Night at the Opera (1935, 96 min) Buy/Watch
  54. Nina’s Barn (2015, 55 min)
  55. NYC Life (2015, 8 min)
  56. The Pale of Settlement (2013, 18 min)
  57. Passover Fever / Leylasede (1995, 100 min) Buy/Watch
  58. Pawn Sacrifice (2014, 115 min) Buy/Watch
  59. Peeping Toms / Metzitzim (1973, 90 min) Buy/Watch
  60. The Pickle Recipe (2016, 97 min)
  61. Reflection (2013, 4 min)
  62. Returning to Light / Volviendo a la Luz (2009, 52 min)
  63. Rewriting History (2012, 80 min)
  64. Russendisko (2012, 100 min) Buy/Watch
  65. Sand Storm / Sufat Chol (2016, 97 min)
  66. Sashenka (2011, 9 min)
  67. The Settlers (2016, 120 min)
  68. Shattered Rhymes (2014, 63 min)
  69. Shore of Love / Shati el gharam (1950, 105 min)
  70. So Israel is Eating / So isst Israel (2015, 90 min)
  71. A Song of Loves: R. David Buzaglo (2015, 60 min)
  72. Subte (Subway): Polska (2015, 98 min)
  73. Taxman (1999, 104 min) Buy/Watch
  74. Tevya (1939, 93 min)
  75. Thank You for Calling / Je compte sur vous (2015, 98 min)
  76. That Bites!: a Documentary About Food Allergies Made by a 12 year old Boy (2015, 46 min)
  77. A Third Way – Settlers and Palestinians as Neighbors (2015, 70 min)
  78. Thy Father’s Chair (2015, 74 min)
  79. Trembling Before G-d (2001, 94 min) Buy/Watch
  80. Tunnel of Hope (2015, 88 min)
  81. Uri Avneri: A Warrior for Peace / Hanadon: Uri Avneri (2002, 75 min)
  82. Welcome (2009, 110 min) Buy/Watch
  83. Wild West Hebron / Maaravon B’Har Hebron (2013, 95 min)
  84. Wings of Change (2016, 53 min)
  85. Zaguri Empire (2014, 40 min)

Books posted on my Jewish Books blog in February 2016

Cover for Books posted in February 2016 I have a blog about Jewish books. Most of the time I post about new books, sometimes about events, book sales or older books. Here is the list of books that made it there during the month of February 2016:

  1. Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit
  2. Athar by Shlomo Kalo
  3. The Beautiful Possible by Amy Gottlieb
  4. Béla’s Letters by Jeff Ingber
  5. The Bible Doesn’t Say That: 40 Biblical Mistranslations, Misconceptions, and Other Misunderstandings by Joel M. Hoffman
  6. The Dao of Being Jewish and Other Stories: Seeking Jewish Narrative All Over the World by Irene Shaland
  7. The Dream of Zion: The Story of the First Zionist Congress by Lawrence J. Epstein
  8. Elisha Davidson and the Ispaklaria by M.R. Attar
  9. Finding Home: In the Footsteps of the Jewish Fusgeyers by Jill Culiner
  10. From Sinai to Ethiopia by Sharon Shalom
  11. Groucho Marx: The Comedy of Existence by Lee Siegel
  12. Hare and Tortoise Race Across Israel by Laura Gehl
  13. Holocaust Cinema in the Twenty-First Century: Images, Memory, and the Ethics of Representation by Gerd Bayer and Oleksandr Kobrynskyy
  14. How the Jews Defeated Hitler by Benjamin Ginsberg
  15. In the Land of Armadillos: Stories by Helen Maryles Shankman
  16. Israel’s Edge: The Story of The IDF’s Most Elite Unit – Talpiot by Jason Gewirtz
  17. Janusz Korczak: Sculptor of Children’s Souls by Marcia Talmage Schneider
  18. Jewish Prayer Texts from the Cairo Genizah by Stefan C. Reif
  19. Jewish Stories of Wisdom by Patrick Fischmann
  20. Levi & Aya by Shoshana Banana
  21. Max Baer and the Star of David by Jay Neugeboren
  22. Mazal Tov, Amigos! Jews and Popular Music in the Americas by Amalia Ran and Moshe Morad
  23. Modernizing Jewish Education in Nineteenth Century Eastern Europe by Mordechai Zalkin
  24. My Aunt Manya by Jose Patterson
  25. Our Jewish Robot Future by Leonard Borman
  26. Piece of Mind by Michelle Adelman
  27. Putting God Second: How to Save Religion from Itself by Donniel Hartman
  28. Scattered Among The Nations by Bryan Schwartz
  29. Sister of Zion by Ruth Danon
  30. Soul Mazal: In the beginning by David Katz
  31. Stolen Words: The Nazi Plunder of Jewish Books by Mark Glickman
  32. Their Promised Land: My Grandparents in Love and War by Ian Buruma
  33. Women’s Hebrew Poetry on American Shores: Poems by Anne Kleiman and Annabelle Farmelant
  34. Yearning to Breathe Free: My Parents’ Fight to Reunite during the Holocaust by Murray Jack Lauicht with Peter Weisz
  35. The Yid by Paul Goldberg
  36. The Zohar Pritzker Edition, Volume Ten by Daniel C. Matt

Film Review: In Search of Israeli Cuisine (2016, Israel, 97 min)

Poster for In Search of Israeli CuisineTake one part of each: travelogue, anthropology, cooking show, business study, biography, add a whole lotta color and spice and you just created the movie In Search of Israeli Cuisine. You also need some cash, so you ran a successful Kickstarter campaign and then turned it into a PBS movie and you are still accepting donations through the Jewish Journal. If you did all this your name is Roger Sherman, the director, writer and Michael Solomonov, the chef/guide of the film.

Let’s look at the ingredients. We are taken to all corners of Israel and as can be seen on the intercut map it happens in a non-linear way. We don’t see much more of the country than the selected restaurants or homes of restaurateurs, but even this limited view ensures that we become aware the geographical and visual diversity of the country. It is also an ethnographic study. If you want to define and identify the cuisine of such a country, that consists of or comes from scores of ethnicities you kind of have to dig into their stories. It is done through participatory observations as we get into people’s identities through their home and commercial kitchen.

Not a single recipe presented in its full detail in the movie, but it is still very much a cooking show. We learn lots of details, tricks, secrets on how certain items are created, but only based on the information gained here you wouldn’t be able to cook any of them. Mr. Sherman is a restaurateur himself, so he was interested in the business aspect of “Israeli cuisine”. We hear about trends in the changes of Israeli taste, the importance of location, and how the industry has changed over the decades. We also learn about Solomonov himself, his background, his brother’s death and what made him search for his identity.

None of these academic details matter though as much as the fantastic, foods, places and people he discovered for us, the wider audience. From simple whole-in-the-wall places to posh over-the top eating palaces almost everyone emphasized the importance of using local, wholesome ingredients. And they sure looked succulent. Some may find the movie bit long. It isn’t exactly repetitive, but a bit of editing would have improved the cinematic experience. I, though, enjoyed every minute of it. My only regret is that I couldn’t taste it. I wish someone would invent an extension where you could taste what’s cooking on the screen. This film would be the first one I would try that out with.

Links:

  • Official site
  • Facebook page
  • IMDB summary: A portrait of the Israeli people told through food. We shot in fine restaurants, in home kitchens, wineries, cheese makers, on the street and much more. Americans see Israelis and Palestinians as always in conflict. Those are not the people of Israel for the most part. “The Search for Israeli Cuisine” will show the 70+ cultures that make up the Israeli people, each with wonderful and unique food traditions. Israel has one of the hottest food scenes in the world. Getting into restaurants in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is as difficult as New York or San Francisco. Viewers will be amazed and impressed.
  • Trailer:

* As a member of the committee helping to put on the Jewish Film Festival, organized by the Jewish Community Center, Sonoma County, I preview movies to help decide which ones to play at the Festival. I watched this movie as part of this volunteer effort.

** Crossposted at Jewishfilmfestivals.org

Film review: Once in a Lifetime / Les héritiers (2014, France, 105 min)

Poster for Once in a Lifetime / Les héritiersIf this is the first movie you saw in the genre of “rambunctious and diverse class of teenagers encounter an inspiring teacher and through a transformative experience come together and change for the better” you will really enjoy it. But if you’ve seen one or more of this type you will find the storyline a bit predictable. The “experience”, this is quasi-remedial class goes through is the participation in a national contest and creating a presentation on the topic of “Children and adolescents in the Nazi concentration camp system“. Almost all of the kids, many of them Muslims to various degree, end up getting interested in the topic and not just set aside their differences, but work together to create their collective project. This is admirable, but my skeptical mind found it unrealistic, that only one and a half student of the whole class opted out. (Even the “one” gets a positive nod at the end and the “half” ends up joining the group halfway through.) Looks like the filmmakers took the perspective that peer pressure is so strong that almost nobody wants to be in the “outgroup”.

I was a bit confused on how old these kids were supposed to be. In the opening seen we saw two students who (more or less) graduated and they were talking about their “baccalaureat”, which in my mind converted to a BA, the degree that in the US most students get after finishing a four year college. Then we saw the new class, and most of them looked about 18 years old to me. But their maturity level was much lower than that of college students. So I had to check and confirmed that “Lycée“, the type of school this movie is set in is a form of secondary institution, i.e. high-school. Don’t be fooled who old these kids look like. They are supposed to be 16-17-ish.

There are good reasons why they looked so old. First of all the “actor”, who played Malik, one of the students, was 20, and was actually part of the class, based on whose true story the film was based on. He, Ahmed Dramé, wrote the script based on his own experience. Second, many of the youth in the movie was played by students of the Lycee it was shot in. Third they were not freshmen, but in the “junior” class which is the same in the US system, the third year of high-school.

There are numerous subthemes such as the French national debate on religious clothing, diversity of personal background in terms of family and socio-economical status, questions of respect and authority, self-confidence and of course the issue of how to teach Holocaust. The latter was helped by a Shoah survivor, who played himself, Leon Zyguel. As part of his teaching he read to the class the Buchenwald Oath, that many in that concentration camp took. It partly reads:

We will take up the fight until the last culprit stands before the judges of the people. Our watchword is the destruction of Nazism from its roots. Our goal is to build a new world of peace and freedom. This is our responsibility to our murdered friends and their relatives.

Thus a main message of the movie is that this task is perpetual and every generation has to take it up.

Links:

  • DVD@ Amazon.com
  • Official site
  • IMDB summary: The fact based story of a class of schoolchildren, teenagers, in a, from the look of it, mixed ethnic district of Paris, who’s teacher decides to enter them in a competition to examine the holocaust from the point of view of its impact on young people. It contains some very emotional scenes and chronicles the change in the opinions and interactions of a typical class of adolescents.
  • Trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/CdvhyY1_rxw

* As a member of the committee helping to put on the Jewish Film Festival, organized by the Jewish Community Center, Sonoma County, I preview movies to help decide which ones to play at the Festival. I watched this movie as part of this volunteer effort.

** Crossposted at Jewishfilmfestivals.org

Film Review: Women in Sink (2015)

Women in SinkThe title of movie, Women in Sink,  is a clever pun, intended to show how similar the women are who frequent a hair salon. Let me add another water related quote from Rumi: “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop.” On one hand the entire movie is based on deliberate mental comparisons. Iris Zaki, the 36 minutes long film’s director and writer (and ladies’ junior hairwasher) shows the heads of women after women in the same position, in the sink, as their hair is getting washed. As there is nothing else to look at than the same sink with various human heads interchanging in it we, the viewers, make the strong connection that we humans are all the same, despite our apparent differences, such as religion, ethnicity or language.

On the other hand this limited view forces us to listen harder to what the women have to say, hence the viewing experience becomes a compare and contrast exercise. Despite their obvious differences even their words end up being similar to each other. Yes, we get to know individual paths of lives. But at the end a basic theme emerges: every single one of them has the same want: a simple, happy life.

Back to Rumi: These women formed a community, whether they knew it or not. The filmmaker sometimes tried to set them up by asking provocative questions. The women almost always answered and through their honesty what came through time after time was that they were wise for not falling for it. Strong emotions not withstanding their perspective always focused on their individual livies and rarely let history and politics interfere with it more than it had to. They were all their own “oceans” (in a black sink).

There are enough shots of the inside of, the neighborhood of, and the workers in the hair salon, that the movie doesn’t get monotonous. My curiosity for technical details was also satisfied in the last shot that shows the disassembling of the gear that allowed to take the interesting overhead shots. After watching this movie I felt like its subjects were feeling too after their treatments: refreshed and optimistic.

Links:

  • Page at Jewishfilmfestivals.org
  • Official site
  • Facebook page
  • IMDB
  • Summary: It is the story of a little hair salon in the heart of the Arab community in Haifa (Israel); it is the story of a friendship between Arab and Jewish women in the city, which is considered a model of coexistence; and it is the story of Iris, the director, who worked as a hair washer at the salon so she could get to know women of the neighbourhood. Through her interaction with the women, in this unique frame, Iris wishes to tell the story of the community from the personal experience of the film’s subjects, and to explore what it reflects of Israeli society.
  • Trailer:

* As a member of the committee helping to put on the Jewish Film Festival, organized by the Jewish Community Center, Sonoma County, I preview movies to help decide which ones to play at the Festival. I watched this movie as part of this volunteer effort.

** Crossposted at jewishfilmfestivals.org

East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem (2014, Israel)

East Jerusalem/West JerusalemSometimes it is hard to separate essence and style. In the case of the documentary titled “East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem I fully agree with its message of positivity and humanity. I agree with the idea that personal connections between people of any kind is a preventive method of avoiding or reducing conflict. And music is a universal, essential and fun way to connect. In short the idea and execution of the movie (“let’s make music together and build peace through connecting parts of the city/cultures”) is close to my heart.

I even like the sound of the songs the people involved in making the record created, although it is far from my preferred musical styles. What alienated me from the film was the words and styles of the main people in it. For me they were too sugary-hippy-naive. They were children of the 60’s and used the lingo of that peace-loving era. For me their words and lyrics not just sounded archaic, but also out-of-time. So much happened in the world, be it music or politics, since their formative years, that that style of thinking and singing seems surpassed. It was dripping with well-intentioned love, but was too syrupy for me to enjoy. I do not doubt its authenticity, even admire it. Just can’t listen to it for too long, without feeling distanced from the people uttering it. To put it in another way: this film will work really well for people who got socialized in that era.

The movie’s principal characters face their own naivety in the scene, where they encounter hordes of young Jews shouting “Death to the Arabs” and a few Arabs shouting back “Death to the Jews”. They have their doubts, but they are not afraid to explore them and are aware that occasionally they need to step outside from the hate-filled atmosphere to maintain their love for peace and understanding. This capacity of and practice for self-reflection is one the things that make the film valuable. 

The other is the long lasting effect. Beside actually managing to record all 13 songs for the record, they also initiated a monthly music camp for kids in the only refugee camp within Jerusalem’s borders:  Shuafat. The fun and creative outlet they provide for the kids is the best outcome of the whole venture.

Having talked, about my reservations and preferences I have to mention that as a film this is excellent work. Well edited, providing a good balance of footage in the sound studio, vignettes from Jerusalem’s life, background information and interviews of the musicians and singers. It was a pleasure to watch it and learn about people(s) I would probably never encounter in my life.

Links:

  • Official site
  • IMDB summary: David Broza, the Israeli singer-songwriter, sets out to realize his dream of cooperation and dialog between Israelis and Palestinians through music. During 8 days and nights of joint creation in an East Jerusalem studio a hopeful message of equality and unity arises.
  • The CD on Amazon.com
  • Trailer:

* As a member of the committee helping to put on the Jewish Film Festival, organized by the Jewish Community Center, Sonoma County, I preview movies to help decide which ones to play at the Festival. I watched this movie as part of this volunteer effort.

** Crossposted at jewishfilmfestivals.org